Smaller Meals More Times Per Day May Curb Obesity In Cats

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Smaller Meals More Times Per Day May Curb Obesity In Cats

obesity in cats

obesity in cats

New research shows that Smaller Meals More Times Per Day May Curb Obesity In Cats. The same advice is sometimes given to humans by alternative medicine practitioners. The theory behind it for humans being that the 3 meals a day regime came about due to the industrial revolution and first world war, where to keep the factories efficiently running, it became necessary to regiment meal times.

Our ancestors however used to have more erratic meal times and maybe went days without large meals and daily average meals may have been much smaller. So eating smaller meals a number of times a day fits in with human metabolism and evolution and therefore must be better for us.

So it seems the same true may be the same for cats. In the wild I’m sure prey are not caught a the same time every day for example.

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/smaller_meals_more_times_day_may_curb_obesity_cats-130158

“Researchers from the University of Illinois interested in finding a method to maintain healthy body weight in cats, looked at a previously suggested claim that increased meal frequency could help to increase overall physical activity.

The idea is to feed cats the appropriate amount of food needed to maintain a healthy body weight, but to offer it in more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.

Animal sciences researcher Kelly Swanson and his lab at U of I determined that both increasing the frequency of meals fed per day, as well as offering meals that contained added dietary water—neither method involved decreasing the overall amount of daily food intake—did promote more physical activity among the cats in the study.

“It all comes down to energy in and energy out. It’s very simple on paper, but it’s not that easy in real life, especially in a household where there is more than one pet. That can be difficult, but I think these two strategies are very practical ideas that people can use,” Swanson said.

During the two-part study, the researchers evaluated the activity of the cats between meals using activity collar monitors. In the first experiment, the cats were divided among four rooms and were given dry kibble meals four times per day, two times per day, one time per day, and in the fourth room, were fed a random number of meals per day. The overall amount of food fed to each cat in each room per day was the same; feeding frequency varied.

In the second experiment, the cats were divided among two rooms and were fed twice per day with a 70 percent hydrated diet, using similar amounts of dry kibble used in the first experiment to maintain body weight. Water was added to the kibble an hour before each meal time, Swanson explained.

The cats were placed in their individual cages only during mealtimes so that the researchers could accurately monitor their food intake. During the activity monitoring times, the cats had limited interaction with people.

The researchers evaluated the cats’ food anticipatory activity (FAA), which included the activity of each cat two hours before meals were given. During the dry kibble experiment, they noticed that the cats were much more active during those anticipatory times, especially those fed four meals per day and those given meals at random times.

“If they know they are going to get fed, that’s when they are really active, if they can anticipate it,” Swanson said.

The cats showed an even greater spike in physical activity in the second experiment when they were fed meals with the added water. However, Swanson said the biggest difference in peak activity times with this group occurred in the periods after they had eaten. He added that the researchers had not determined why this was, though factors such as increased use of the litter box, for example, could have come into play.”

Owners often overfeed their cats. Because they assume that the small amount of food in a plate is not going to be enough for their cats to survive but in most cases that is wrong. To trick is to  figure out how much food your cat needs to maintain a healthy body weight and that can be done by trial and error. If your cat is already overweight then you need to reduce etc. and then to maybe split that amount of food into small portions throughout the day as smaller meals more times per day may curb obesity in cats.

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